In the old days of Melee, many scenes were cut off from one another, unable to interact. It was rare to see any tournaments where multiple regions would come together to test themselves, and so it was hard to properly rank the skill of people around the world against one another. However, there were a few key tournaments that were able to achieve national exposure. The MOAST series in the South would draw people from the west and east coasts, while the Snexus series out in the Midwest would occasionally bring in people as well. However, the tourney series that stands out above the rest was the Tournament Go series in San Jose, California. Thought of as the premier smash series back in 2002-2004, it brought in people from all across the nation, and, by its 5th edition, had amassed the first true national, with even some European representation. However, Matt Deezie, legendary TO of the series, wasn’t done yet, and decided he would host one last Tournament Go in August of 2004, and he would pull out all the stops. Being the first notable tournament of over 100 entrants in size, Deezie was able to bring over not only people from all over the USA, but competitors from Canada, The Netherlands and, for the first time ever, Japan with legendary smasher CaptainJack. This tournament would finally decide who the best in the world was, and was a monumental moment in the history of our game. However, many people do not know the full story behind this tournament. It’s time to change that, and show why Tournament Go 6 was one of, if not the, most important tourney prior to the modern era.
Now then, hello everybody! My name is Pikachu942, with my first article in a new series I like to call Lost to History! My first in the series? Well, if you haven’t already guessed, it’s time to jump in with 2004’s Tournament Go 6! Let’s get started!
Before we get into the actual tournament itself, we need to set the stage for the tournament’s creation. Since Melee’s competitive inception in 2002, there has always been a question of which scene in the USA was the best. The west coast housed powerhouses such as Recipherus, Justin Junio, Sultan of Samitude and of course, the duo of Isai and Ken. The east coast, on the other hand, had the crew of Ha Ha You Lose, abbreviated as H2YL (Azen, Chu, Chillin, Mild, Anden, JTanic) and Deadly Alliance, commonly shortened as DA (Wes, Dave, Kamaal, DanteFox, Mike G and more), as well as Team Ben (Wife, Husband, Oro). There were other strong regions as well, but it was really only between the two coasts of the country. After TG5 the previous year, most people thought it was all but decided who the best coast was, but the east coast had other opinions. You see, the Tournament Go series, while the premier series in the nation to many, held their tournaments with items on, potentially leading to skewed results, especially in the eyes of H2YL. Game Over in early 2004 was hosted on the east coast, without items, to truly settle this once and for all. Ken, the best on the west at the time, did win the tournament, but not without a hiccup with a loss to Chillindude. Because of this, the east coast still clinged on to potentially being the strongest region in the country heading into the tournament.
However, despite the rivalry in the USA, most thought it was quite obvious where the strongest scene as far as globally was concerned resided: Japan. Japan’s best were seen as unthinkably beyond what America had to offer, either due to the stereotype of Japanese players just being superior or from the few videos of play people actually saw. Their best: Masashi, CaptainJack, Keropi-, Thunders, RAIN and Brown Mario at the time, were seen as far above even the greatest American players such as Ken or Azen. Because of this, the USA wanted to test themselves to see if their hypothesis rang true, or if they could disprove it and bring the crown to the land of the free. Matt Deezie worked things out, and was able to bring over the legend himself, CaptainJack, who was generally considered to be in the top two in Japan alongside Masashi, to Tournament Go 6. Deezie also decided to remove items from the ruleset, and make matches 4 stocks, 8 minutes, as opposed to Game Over’s 5 stock count. In addition, Deezie also banned several unpopular stages, leaving only a handful to be selected. A hybrid of the east and west coast rulesets, TG6 birthed the modern ruleset of Melee, one that we still use today and will probably use for a long time in the future. This tournament was a first for many things in Melee: The first to bring in multiple international talents, the first to adopt the modern ruleset, and is generally considered to be the first tournament to surpass 100 entrants.
Now then, let’s get to the actual tournament, and what makes this one event so special in the eyes of many.
Another first for Tournament Go 6 was that it was the first major tournament to be multiple days, sporting two days of competition. The first day of the tourney was nothing special, however, more of a casual day at first with doubles happening later on. The only shocking thing about friendlies was when Ken and CaptainJack sat down to play. After having close games against Jack’s Sheik, his main character, Ken began struggling against both Jack’s Bowser and Donkey Kong, some of the worst characters at the time. There wasn’t an excuse for character unfamiliarity either, as Arash, one of the SoCal Elite 5, was considered the best Bowser in the country at the time. Seeing the best in America get utterly trounced as the games progressed by Japan’s elite only seemed to reaffirm what everybody thought: that the USA was truly the inferior region. Regardless, the doubles tourney began, and what’s interesting about this doubles tourney is that it sported pools into bracket, which was uncommon at the time. While we do not know the full results of doubles, we do have a handful of them.
1.El Chocolate Diablo (Ken & Isai)
2.Team East Coast (Azen & DA Wes)
3.Crystal City (Rob$ & Caveman)
4.Eddie & The Doug
5/6.ChuDat & Manacloud and CaptainJack & Takuto
As likely expected, Ken & Isai dominated doubles, making this more of a fight for 2nd place. This win proved they could even beat Japan’s elite in doubles, and cemented them as the likely best team in not just the USA, or even North America, but the entire world. Surprisingly, Team Japan themselves lost to Ken & Isai in winner’s semis and then lost once more in loser’s quarters, placing a disappointing 5th. The Crystal City crew surprised many with there 3rd placing, many saying they were the 3rd best team in the nation after their performance over well-established teams like the NorCal team of Scamp/Sultan of Samitude and giving Azen/DA Wes a struggle. An interesting result overall, but not the main event.
As Day 1 came to a close, the anticipation for singles grew. With over 100 entrants participating (winding up being a 112 total), it was the largest tournament at the time, with tons of stacked talent. The best from NorCal would be coming out of semi-retirement for this tourney, as since TG5, with the exception of Sultan of Samitude, the NorCal group barely played for months. This included Recipherus, his brother Adam, Justin Junio, JR Castillo and Matt Deezie. In fact, Matt stated that he had to basically beg for some of these people to go, especially Justin Junio. Of course, the still active NorCal players showed up as well, including Isai, DonkeyBalls, DeathSmasher00, Scamp, Jon-Jon, GERM and The SNAP. Other strong regions included the SoCal Elite 4, recently turned into the Elite 5. This consisted of the Top 5 in the region: Ken, ManaCloud, Tavo7, Pedro & Arash. The best from the Pacific Northwest also came down, including Kei, Sastopher, BaleFireBoy, 1psemet who recently changed his name to J-Dawg, Blair (who would later be known as Variety Barrage), Yagi and Stition. The Midwest’s Eddie also came out to the event, known as #1 in the region at the time, and the South’s Zulu, Rob$ & Caveman also appeared. From the East Coast, Tri-State’s finest of DA Wes, Mike G and DA Dave showed up, while MDVA brought in Azen and Chu Dat, as well as Oro. Florida even had some solid players in attendance, with Delaini, CloudStrifeX and Goldwing representing SFL. For the first time ever, vast international talent made their appearance, as The Doug, who had been both the best in the UK and one of the best in NorCal, then representing The Netherlands and quickly asserting himself as #1 in the region, made his way over, in addition to Mr. Silver and Rune from the same country. MikeMonkey and Jarrod of the Punch Crew also showed up from Canada, and of course CaptainJack and Takuto, who would later be known by his more popular tag S-Royal, were the guests of honor from Japan. This tourney was missing very few top tier players from that time, it was truly a meeting of the greats.
Day 2 arrived. The anticipation at an all time high, it was time for the bracket to finally begin. Like most tournaments, the top seeds got a bye to the 2nd round. These included Ken, The Doug, MikeMonkey, Caveman, Kei, ManaCloud, Azen, Isai, Jarrod, Variety Barrage, DA Wes, Tavo7, CaptainJack, Goldwing, Sultan of Samitude & Recipherus. This definitely seemed to favor West Coast and international talent, as 3 of the SoCal Elite 5 were seeded for byes while people such as Eddie were not. Unproven best in region players seemed to be given byes as well, such as Goldwing, who the previous day was doing well in friendlies against Jack, The Punch Crew and Caveman. Overall, intriguing seeding, but not what we’re here for.
Round 1 was a rather uneventful round, as expected of such a big tournament, but there were some interesting matchups:
Jon-Jon vs. CloudStrifeX
The first major match of the day, an inter-regional battle. Jon-Jon was considered a strong, just below top level player in NorCal, while Cloud was one of the best in South Florida at the time. In the end, Jon-Jon took it in a competitive set 2-1, where JJ actually gave Cloud props for the tightness of the set in one of his few Smashboards posts.
Lunaris vs. Teflon Climbers
The best in Alaska in Lunaris and a top player from Minnesota in Teflon, this was a somewhat intriguing MU to look at, especially since a year prior in 2003 Teflon actually called out Alaska and Lunaris on Smashboards. Lunaris took it convincingly, showing that his home state was nothing to scoff at.
J-Dawg vs. Deathsmasher00
J-Dawg was a relatively unknown player at the time outside of his home-region of the Pacific Northwest, not helped by his recent tag change, and thus had a tough bracket ahead of him, starting as early as round 1 with the up and coming NorCal player Deathsmasher00. J-Dawg won convincingly, proving this top player was not to be messed with and he was here to play.
Matt Deezie vs. Stition
A top player from NorCal coming out of a hiatus vs. a top PNW player still playing, this could’ve been an extremely interesting match, potentially an upset. However, Matt showed he still had it as he beat Stition rather convincingly. Perhaps the others who have “retired” could still show off their skills?
Rob$ vs. JR Castillo
Probably the most interesting match of the first round, the Southern Falco and Top 3 his region of Texas faced off against TG1 winner and Fox main JR Castillo. JR was a bit out of his prime at this point, and that in addition to a hiatus allowed Rob$ to take this set convincingly, sending him to loser’s.
Yagi vs. Aftermath
Yagi, the founder of the SKYPAL crew and venue, was a Luigi main who was considered a strong contender in his state of Washington. However, just south of his state laid another important figure in old school melee, Aftermath, a Samus main from Oregon. An early pioneer for the Oregon scene, Aftermath was a regular contributor to Smashboards and was one of the first to truly develop Samus’s tools, creating videos such as the one seen above, as well as being the person to discover the Black Hole Glitch. Yagi won convincingly, but both these players deserve mention as figureheads in their respective areas.
As each expected player advanced into Round 2, some more interesting matches began to pop up:
DA Dave vs. Camper Bob
The Tri-State Falco looked to have an easy road ahead of him to at least the 3rd round, but shockingly he nearly lost to Midwest Peach and Young Link main Camper Bob. Known for his Poke Floats camping strategy, Bob was able to take a game thanks to an SD in Game 2 by Dave, and took the final game to a close last stock. So close to a fairly large upset, but in the end Deadly Alliance prevailed.
Sastopher vs. Arash
Peach vs. Bowser, a fitting match for those who are fans of the Mario series, but one not seen pretty much at all in today’s tournaments. Even back then, this rarely happened, but you would probably not find a Peach-Bowser better than this one. Sastopher, considered the 2nd best in the Pacific Northwest behind Rori, who had to back out of the tournament last second, was a solid Peach main who few considered a threat heading in the tournament. Arash was one of the SoCal Elite 5, and surely he could handle such an unknown. However, the Northwest’s best player present was able to win a hardfought match against the SoCal Bowser, defeating him 2-1, which each game going to a riveting (?) timeout.
J-Dawg vs. MikeMoney
The first major upset of the event, J-Dawg continued proving doubters wrong and was able to take down the then best in Canada, Falcon main MikeMonkey. MikeMonkey was considered the best player in his coutnry and leader of the Punch Crew, who were well known for making videos such as the one above, and being one of the first to do so on a consistent basis, giving people regular insight into others playing the game. One wonders if Mike brought out the Donkey Kong due to not taking him seriously, but all we know for now is that the old-school, even at the time, J-dawg, was able to defeat an international talent, putting PNW firmly on the map.
Mike G vs. Caveman
A high-profile match where neither was the clear favorite, the best Dr. Mario in the nation Caveman went up against the Tri-State Peach main Mike G. In a hotly contested affair, Caveman was able to clutch it out, continuing on in this winner’s bracket. It was rare to see one of the non-coasts defeat those by the water, but Caveman proved that the center of the country was just as important as those on the edges.
Kei vs. BaleFireBoy
An early team kill for the SKYPAL boys, Peach main BaleFireBoy fought against Kei, a Fox and Peach co-main, in a battle between two of the best players in the region. Kei was able to take a close set, but it really is a shame that they had to face off so early.
ChuDat vs. Zulu
Zulu, a top player from Texas, went against Top 3 in MDVA and newly minted Ice Climbers main ChuDat. Chu stated that this was actually a rather easy win for him, a clean 2-0, which at the time might’ve been surprising given Zulu’s reputation beforehand, having defeated Recipherus at MOAST 1 just over a year ago.
Rune vs. GERM
In Dutch Marth Rune’s first true test in his trip to America, he solidly defeated rising NorCal Link main, GERM. Unlike both The Doug and Mr. Silver, Rune had never come to America before, so this was a necessary win in order to prove himself as a legitimate threat to the Americans.
DieSuperFly vs. Scamp
This was DSF’s first big win, as he was able to defeat staple of the NorCal smash scene and the titular Dave in Dave’s Stupid Rule, Scamp. DSF was hyped up a lot prior to this tourney for his rapid improvement, and he showed why he should be believed as he took out one of NorCal’s higher-level still active players.
Oro vs. Adam
Team Ben’s Samus in Oro went up against Recipherus’ brother, Luigi main Adam, and was shockingly able to defeat him. Due to Adam’s then inactivity, it is unclear if the previously best Luigi in the nation was still in prime condition to take on such a rising star, but it is clear this was a solid victory for the East Coast and more than proved people outside H2YL and DA could compete.
Mr. Silver vs. Zelgadis
2004 was Zelgadis’s breakout year, as the release of his combo video, Shined Blind (seen above), was a monumental moment in the entirety of our game’s history. The video inspired dozens of Fox mains, and showcased Zelgadis’s technical prowess. However, he wasn’t able to effectively translate it to tournament results, as he lost to Mr. Silver, a Dutch player who came over to America more often than any other, and was one of the first people that gave us a glimpse to how strong Europe was in comparison to the USA.
As the rest of the players advanced into Round 3, more and more players were dropping into loser’s, and some interesting matches there were bound to occur:
CloudStrifeX vs. Adam (65th)
Cloud began a strong loser’s run here as he was able to take out Adam in loser’s after his loss to Oro, proving Florida was not a region to be slept on. A West Coast top player being taken out by two lesser known EC players must’ve been great for the Atlantic.
Arash vs. Derilink (65th)
Despite an extremely close set against Sastopher in winner’s, Arash flamed out early in loser’s, losing to Link main Derilink, considered a strong PNW player but actually failed his audition to get into the SKYPAL crew. Not a good look for SoCal here, one of their elites out before Top 64.
CloudeStrifeX vs. Goldwing (49th)
An SFL team-kill, Cloud was able to continue his loser’s run by defeating Goldwing, which was definitely an either way match. Goldwing lost in winner’s to Eddie before this, and overall underperformed compared to the high seeding and impressive showcase vs. Jack he showed in the previous day.
Deathsmasher00 vs. Scamp (49th)
A NorCal battle of two evenly matched opponents, the new up-and-coming DeathSmasher was able to take down the old-guard of Scamp to continue into the Top 48 of the tournament.
Zulu vs. Stition (49th)
Zulu proved he wasn’t a fraud after losing to Chu, as he dismantled one of SKYPAL’s stronger players in Stition and showcased why he was considered the best in the South just a short time ago.
JR Castillo vs. Tristan (49th)
In probably the biggest upset thus far, Tristan, a relatively unknown player from what I can find, was able to defeat JR Castillo, ending him at 49th place, effectively also ending JR’s Smash Career.
Camper Bob vs. Aftermath (49th)
Two lesser but still high level players faced off in loser’s here, as Camper Bob stopped the Samus innovator in his tracks with his frustrating Peach and Young Link.
Back into Winner’s R3, even more high level matches were underway:
DA Dave vs. Justin Junio
The likely most anticipated Falco Ditto at the time, these two were considered two of the best Falcos in the nations, with each representing their coast. Junio, after a lot of time off from the game, was basically being forced to enter this enter this tournament by Matt Deezie, and it clearly showed. Justin lost rather decisively to DA Dave, and East Coast had taken down another West Coast member.
The Doug vs. Lunaris
In the next major upset of the tourney, The Doug was taken out by Lunaris, who firmly cemented both himself and his state with this astonishing win. Few would’ve given the Alaskan Marth a shot against this former Top 10 player in the nation and the best from Europe, but he was able to pull it out!
Takuto vs. J-Dawg
In another major upset for the day, the Japanese Dr. Mario main Takuto was actually taken down by J-Dawg, who continued to impress in his winner’s run. The man once known as 1psemet from SKYPAL had now taken down both Canada and Japan, what could he do next?
Caveman vs. Delaini
One of the best in Texas against the likely best in Florida, this was sure to be an intriguing matchup to spectate. A Falco main before “Floridian Falcos” were a thing, Delaini was thought of as an innovator to the character along with Lambchops and FlowinWater. However, he fell to the unorthodox Dr. Mario main from Crystal City, as Caveman solidly took the set 2-0.
Kei vs. Matt Deezie
A hotly contested match between West Coast elites, Kei from the Northwest faced off against Matt Deezie, host of the tournament and a strong NorCal player in his own right. While Matt was out of his game by this point, he still put up a strong fight against the rapidly improving Fox/Peach main. However, when the dust settled, Kei was able to take it in a close set to continue in the winner’s bracket, which some may have considered an upset.
ChuDat vs. Variety Barrage
After Chu already defeated Zulu, he continued his at the time impressive winner’s run with a close victory over Variety Barrage, then known by his real name, Blair. Chu gave props to Blair for the super close set, as the PNW Fox main was nearly able to take it. However, Chu took Game 3 decisively after an ill-advised “top tier” switch by Blair, likely to Sheik, who was considered better than Fox at the time and was his secondary.
DieSuperFly vs. Tavo7
Considered a potential upset at the time, DSF was being incredibly hyped up for his ability to potentially make Top 8 or even beat the top players. He was improving rapidly in his home-region, and he likely didn’t expect a fellow Sheik main to take him down. Tavo7, sometimes known as Tavo, Gustavo or Gus, was part of the illustrious SoCal Elite 5, and contended with ManaCloud for #2 in the region. He was able to defeat the vaunted DSF in Sheik dittos, likely due to the volatility of chaingrabbing, which especially in 2004 more than evened the skill gap. DSF was sent to loser’s, but this wouldn’t be the last we see of him…
As the rest of the top players advanced, in loser’s more matches were brewing:
Jarrod vs. Jeff H. (33rd)
The second best of the Punch Crew and potentially #2 in Canada, Jarrod was expected to make it far in bracket, as evidenced by his high seeding. However, after a loss to Isai, he was sent to loser’s and quickly dispatched by an unknown Melee player by the name of Jeff, who also defeated Zelgadis the round before. This, coupled with Mike’s loss to J-Dawg, maybe led credence to Canada not being that good.
Pedro vs. Variety Barrage (33rd)
Another potentially intriguing bout, one of the SoCal Elite 5, Pedro, was matched up against Blair after his close loss to ChuDat. Pedro had lost early to Sultan of Samitude, but had been tearing it up in loser’s prior to this. However, Blair shot him down quickly, taking out the second of the Elite 5 in the tournament.
Rune vs. CloudStrifeX (33rd)
A notable match, one of the best in Florida went up against a Top 10 player from The Netherlands, and it wound up being a hotly contested affair. The two went back-and-forth, and apparently an unfortunate circumstance, likely an SD at low % while in the lead, cost Cloud the set. Rune even posted in SmashBoards how unfortunate it was that this occurred.
GERM vs. Oro (33rd)
An intense EC vs. WC match, Oro the Samus went up against the best Link main in America, GERM. GERM praised Oro’s skill in the SmashBoards thread, calling him the definite 2nd best Samus in the nation behind only DA Wes. However, despite the praise, NorCal’s Hero of Time defeated the Samus main in a close 3 game set.
Yagi vs. Zulu (33rd)
The host of the SKYPAL tourneys and Luigi main Yagi went up against Falco/Puff dual main and top player from Texas, Zulu. Yagi put up a decent performance in this same matchup against Samitude but ultimately lost, and a much similar thing happened here, as Zulu clutched out a close set. However, Yagi’s performance in this tournament earned him the title at the time as the best Luigi in the nation to many, as he also easily outplaced Recipherus’s brother, Adam, at the same tourney.
BaleFireBoy vs. Justin Junio (33rd)
BaleFireBoy, after being sent to loser’s horribly early by his regional brethren Kei, went on a strong loser’s run, all starting with his defeat of former Top 10 Player in the nation Justin Junio. The PNW Peach main was able to take out the all-star Falco, showing that the Northwest was vastly approaching the top regions in strength, and also further hammered how the old-guard of the scene was being taken over.
MikeMonkey vs. The Doug (33rd)
Quite a grand match for such an early place in bracket, one of the best Sheiks in the world and likely the best Smasher from Europe went up against the best in Canada. The Doug stated how close this set was, and how his loss here and ultimate underperformance, not even cracking Top 32, led him to retire from Melee, at least temporarily. What’s interesting to note is The Doug was the lowest placing European at the event, despite being the likely best on the Continent.
DieSuperFly vs. Rune (25th)
The NorCal Sheik main was determined to show he did indeed live up to the hype, as he took down the Dutch Marth main Rune in a close set. Rune was very upset at the result, saying that DSF did not deserve to win the set, but later apologized.
Zulu vs. Mr. Silver (25th)
The Texan blue bird continued his loser’s run, as he was able to fend off and defeat the final European left in the event, Mr. Silver. Silver was also very upset, like his two other European folk, about the loss, and felt he shouldn’t have been defeated. Perhaps salt ran heavy in Holland?
Mike G. vs. MikeMonkey
The two best players at the time to use Mike in their tag, this set led to a vastly disappointing performance by Mike G, who lost this set in convincing fashion to end his run at 25th. The Falcon main from Canada continued to show that the country was indeed not fraudulent, as his loser’s run raged on.
Takuto vs. Delaini (25th)
Takuto, after losing to J-Dawg in winner’s, was determined to show that CaptainJack was not the only Japanese player here who came to take names. He was able to take out the best player in Florida at the time, Delaini, rather convincingly, ending the state’s highest placing at 25th.
Matt Deezie vs. ManaCloud (25th)
One of the best NorCal vs. SoCal matchups you could ask for, Deezie and ManaCloud faced off in what was described as one of the sets of the tournament. An insanely close set, ManaCloud nearly pulled off the win, but Matt showed he had amazing innate skill and talent as, even with his several month break, was able to take it over SoCal’s arguable #2 and knock out the third of the Elite 5.
This has narrowed us down to the Top 24 of the tournament, and thus the winner’s bracket continued.
Ken vs. DA Dave
Ken hasn’t been mentioned up until this point in the article as, due to his skill and clear stature as the best in America, breezed by most of his opponents. However, he met his first real challenge in DA Dave, who at that point was potentially even better than Wes as the best in Tri-State, having placed an impressive 4th at Game Over earlier in the year. The Falco main was able to take a game and nearly a set per Azen’s recollection, but in the end the King of Smash was able to prevail 2-1.
Sastopher vs. Lunaris
Lunaris strived to continue his impressive run so far, as he faced off against the Northwest’s best attending player Sastopher. Alaska’s #1 was indeed a fearsome foe, and these two unknowns on the grander stage were an intriguing bout. Sastopher was able to take it to continue on into Winner’s Quarters.
J-Dawg vs. Caveman
J-Dawg continued his unthinkable at the time winner’s run, as he defeated not just Canada and Japan, but also one Texas’s best players, as he was able to take out Caveman in an intense set. PNW was separating itself at this point from other high level regions and really cemented itself as a place on par with Cali, Tri-State and MDVA.
Recipherus vs. Sultan of Samitude
The NorCal classic, these two were at one point considered some of the very best in the country, and though they were out of practice, were still able to effectively hold their own. Sam wound up taking the set, as he tended to do, having the head to head on Recipherus most of the time, and would continue on in winner’s.
ChuDat vs. Isai
The legendary match that kickstarted Chu Dat’s career as one of the legends of the game, Chu was thought of as a massive underdog coming into this set. Isai had within the past year defeated a Recipherus in his prime, Azen, Wes, won Smash 4 Cash over most of East Coast’s best and even took a set off of Ken at MLG Chicago 2004. These were all accomplishments Chu Dat had not achieved in the past year, not defeating Wes in tournament and it being nearly 2 years since his last win on Azen. However, the unthinkable happened, as not only did Chu defeat the NorCal Falcon, he did so convincingly, never going down to last stock in the entire set. This brought several eyes to Chu: Could he win this tournament?
And at this point, Winner’s Quarters was set. Four matchups would decide who would be in winner’s top 8, and one more round of loser’s would decide the final Top 16:
Kei vs. Variety Barrage (17th)
A PNW mashup, these two were considered roughly equal in skill at the time, and as such it was a close set. Blair was able to take Kei out, ending the Japanese Washingtonian’s run at 17th.
DieSuperFly vs. Caveman (17th)
DSF continued his strong loser’s run with another upset over one of the best in Texas, Caveman. The Doc main had just suffered an upset loss to J-Dawg, and another one to DSF ended his run, a vast underperformance all things considered.
DA Dave vs. Zulu (17th)
Two Falco mains known as the best in their respective regions of Tristate and Texas, Dave and Zulu faced off in an overall underwhelming encounter. Dave took the match solidly, ending Zulu’s run at 17th, and showed why the coasts are the regions to truly be feared.
Lunaris vs. Rob$ (17th)
After his win on The Doug earlier in the tournament, Lunaris was likely looked at as the favorite for this matchup. However, the final of the Crystal City trio emerged victorious, and Rob$, then known as RobFalco, was able to take a close set over the best in Alaska. Rob$ noted that Lunaris was the one who taught him the most of the entirety of people at the tourney, and considered Lunaris one of his toughest opponents.
Recipherus vs. BaleFireBoy (17th)
In what was one of the biggest upsets of the tournament, the Northwest Peach main clutched it out over the once best in NorCal and arguably the nation at a point, 2nd seed in the tournament Recipherus. This must’ve been unthinkable at the time, as people back then likely thought that, even with the rust, Recipherus must be able to make Top 8; but he couldn’t even make Top 16! This truly symbolized both PNW’s rise and the old-school’s fall.
MikeMonkey vs. Eddie (17th)
The last time MikeMonkey attended a large tournament, it was Snexus 2 in the Midwest, where Eddie placed 3rd and Mike placed just outside Top 8, a decent performance but nowhere near the level of what Eddie was capable of. In the past year, Mike had leveled up considerably, and at this point had built up a head of steam with wins on both Mike G and The Doug. Mike was able to take it over Eddie, showing his marked improvement and also showed the potential of his country.
Takuto vs. Tavo7 (17th)
While most eyes were on CaptainJack when it came to Japan, Takuto was calmly making a loser’s run with his impressive Doctor Mario, defeating arguably the 2nd best in SoCal behind Ken, Tavo7, in a close contest. Takuto had reached Top 16 and outplaced the best Doctor Mario in America, Caveman, showing that even Japan’s lower level players were not to be messed with.
Top 16 had finally approached us, and the tournament was finally revving into its final gear.
DieSuperFly vs. Variety Barrage (13th)
Blair had at this point proven himself as one of the best Northwest players in attendance, while DSF was still struggling to show the potential people said he possessed in the lead up to the tournament. A win here would prove he was one of the nation’s premier Sheik mains, and he did exactly that, defeating Blair and progressing to the Top 12 to wait on the loser of Ken and Sastopher.
Rob$ vs. DA Dave (13th)
In a shocking upset, Rob$ defeated DA Dave very soundly to progress on in the tournament in Falco dittos. After defeating both Justin Junio and Zulu rather convincingly, one would think DA Dave would have this in the bag. However, the final representative from the South had more to say, as by all accounts it was a massacre. A shocking loss from one of the East Coast’s finest.
BaleFireBoy vs. MikeMonkey (13th)
Two incredible loser’s runs, and one had to come to an end here. BaleFireBoy had taken down the old-guard of Justin Junio and Recipherus, while MikeMonkey powered through current contenders like The Doug, Mike G and Eddie. In the end, BaleFireBoy was the one reigned supreme, further pressing on into the Top 12, knocking Canada out of the running.
Isai vs. Takuto (13th)
A monumental moment happened here, as Isai was able to soundly defeat Takuto and eliminate the Japanese guest from the tournament at 13th place. While it may not seem like much, being able to truly eliminate a Japanese player of any caliber has to be considered an accomplishment for the western scene.
In Winner’s Quarters, the best of the best were waiting to duke it out.
Azen vs. J-Dawg
Azen has been sweeping by the winner’s bracket with ease, defeating strong players like ManaCloud and Kei with little to no effort, before coming across the miracle worker J-Dawg from the Pacific. Having vanquished many in his winner’s path, be it Canada, Japan or the USA, J-Dawg was looking to add one of the nation’s finest to his hitlist. However, it was not to be, as Azen easily dispatched of him and progressed into Winner’s Semis unscathed.
CaptainJack vs. Sultan of Samitude
Jack had been cruising through as easily as Azen had, easily dispatching of players like Eddie and Rob$, who had been putting on quite a show in the loser’s side. He continued his dominance, easily defeating the former best Falco in the nation Sultan of Samitude to progress into Top 8 without dropping a single game.
ChuDat vs. DA Wes
While Chu had defeated Isai convincingly, that was the first time they had met, and thus it was a relative unknown what the result would be. However, against DA Wes, they had played numerous times, and Chu had not defeated him a single time in any of their fights. They had an infamous scuffle at a DCSS, where Wes won due to a controversial timeout rule, but here, it was finally Chu’s time to shine. He defeated Wes in a close set to progress into Winner’s Semis, a ridiculous feat to be considered previously. Chu considered this win even more important than his victory on Isai, as he finally overcame a longstanding demon.
Ken vs. Sastopher
In an upset superior to even ChuDat’s victory over Isai, Sastopher, somebody considered of a generally lower level to most high level players around him at the time, defeated the King of Smash Ken, sending him to the loser’s bracket for only the second time in his career. Ken likes to say that he was too focused on the Directional Influence, or DI, that CaptainJack showcased to him in friendlies the previous day, and allowed himself to be sent flying to practice it, but regardless, a loss is a loss, no johns. Somebody who had lost to Azen’s Pichu in friendlies had now beaten the best player in the country. At this point, it seemed all hope was lost to stop CaptainJack and the Japanese invasion. But, surely, Ken would come back in loser’s right?
No, no he would not.
Ken vs. DieSuperFly (9th)
In one of the biggest upsets of all time, DieSuperFly realized his potential, and defeated Ken in a thrilling Game 3 last stock scenario to eliminate Ken for the first time ever. For the first time ever, Ken would not win a tournament. For the first time ever, Ken would not Top 8 a tournament. For the first time ever, the King of Smash had been dethroned. A Sheik player who had just barely started taking the game seriously, and while hyped had no results, defeated the greatest Marth player in the world. DSF, who had barely squeaked out a win over Rune, an inferior Marth main, just a couple rounds before. DSF, who had lost in winner’s to Tavo7, only the second best in SoCal to Ken’s first in the region. DieSuperFly shocked the world, Ken, and himself, as he progressed into Top 8 of one of the most important tournaments of all time.
Rob$ vs. J-Dawg (9th)
Despite the shocking revelation that Ken was out of the tournament, there were still more matches to be played. J-Dawg’s cinderella run was cut short here by Rob$, who continued to surge into Top 8 and put the South on the map. This would be 1psemet’s final lasting performance, and what a performance to go out on, defeating players from all across the globe.
DA Wes vs. BaleFireBoy (9th)
Another miracle run was short-lived here, as DA Wes showed he hadn’t lost a step from his loss to Chu and defeated BaleFireBoy in a close 2-0 set. Only one Northwest player remained in the running, and that was Sastopher, who was comfortably waiting in Winner’s Semis. Perhaps Wes used one of his illegal moves to secure victory…
Isai vs. Sultan of Samitude (9th)
A fight between NorCal’s best, Sam was still trying to show he was a powerhouse to be feared, but Isai easily stomped to prove who was #1 in the region. Rob$ was now the only Falco remaining, and it seemed clear who the best with the bird was at this point. Top 8 was decided, and the final stages drew near.
Top 8 for the largest Melee tournament of all-time was underway, and the best in the country wasn’t even a part of it. It seemed some unlikely contenders would have to be the ones to defend the homeland from the monstrous CaptainJack, but could they do it was the question. First, loser’s had to go underway
DieSuperFly vs. Rob$ (7th)
Perhaps it was the shock of such a momentous win in his career, or the nerves of being so far in the tourney, or maybe Rob$ was just the better man on this day, but DSF fell just as he reached the top of the mountain. Rob defeated DSF and progressed to Loser’s Quarters, as DieSuperFly was left with a bittersweet ending, showcasing his potential but still stumbling as he reached the finish line.
Isai vs. DA Wes (7th)
One of the more one-sided matchups between top players, Isai seemed to always have the upperhand on Wes, utterly destroying him in their confrontation at Game Over. The story was no different here, as the NorCal Falcon easily dispatched of the New York Samus main, ending Tristate’s finest just within Top 8. It would be up to MDVA to defend the East Coast’s honor from here on out.
Winner’s Semis approached, and would decide who would be the final 2 left standing on the winner’s side of the bracket.
Azen vs. Sastopher
Just after his astounding win over Ken, Sastopher went face-to-face with his closest contemporary, Azen Zagenite, the best from the East. Azen won rather decisively by game count, though the games were fairly close. It was clear Sastopher was a player of the highest caliber, and likely the best Peach main in the world at this point, but Azen persevered and made it to Winner’s Finals.
CaptainJack vs. ChuDat
In a shocking move, Jack switched off of his usual Sheik to instead use a different character: Ganondorf against ChuDat. Ganon was considered a weaker character, but one with a more favorable matchup against the eskimo pair. Jack proved this with an impressive 3-0 over ChuDat, ending his winner’s run just short of the end. Jack had now reached Winner’s Finals without dropping a single game, could he be stopped with Ken no longer in the running?
Sastopher vs. Rob$ (5th)
Before we could decide that, loser’s had to be seen first. Despite Winner’s Semis being Best of 5 sets, the Loser’s Quarters matches wound up being a Best of 3 competition. This led Sastopher to take a close 2-1 victory over Rob$, ending the South’s pride and joy at a very respectable 5th place. Only those on the coasts and Japan remained, as Azen, CaptainJack, Sastopher, ChuDat and Isai were the final 5.
ChuDat vs. Isai (5th)
In a rematch from the shocking result from winner’s side, ChuDat and Isai faced off once more. People were sure Isai could pull through when they needed him, and had figured out Chu’s tricks with a then highly underutilized character in the Ice Climbers. However, if anything, this set was even more dominant in Chu’s favor, as he quickly dispatched of Isai to move into the Top 4.
Winner’s Finals had finally come. Azen vs. CaptainJack, USA vs. Japan. Could Azen reign supreme over Japan’s best, or would the country from the east reinforce their dominance?
Azen vs. CaptainJack
The answer was a resounding yes to the former, as Azen won a shockingly convincing 3-0 over CaptainJack to reach Grand Finals. His utilization of the chaingrab in the Sheik ditto, something players in Japan were vehemently against and refused to use, led to Azen winning quite soundly, though some argued it was a dirty victory and not a true test of skill. Regardless of the circumstances, Azen prevailed, and showed America could compete with Japan’s best.
ChuDat vs. Sastopher (4th)
Both of these players performed monumental upsets in their path to Loser’s Semis, but in the end, only one could prevail. In a matchup considered even worse back then than in today’s meta, Sastopher used his dangerous Peach against ChuDat’s Ice Climbers. It went down to a riveting, last stock Game 5 scenario, and somehow Chu was able to barely take it over one of the Northwest’s best. Arguably the best win of his entire run at the tournament, Chu showed he could overcome any odds, even in the face of a nigh-unwinnable matchup. This performance single handedly pushed Ice Climbers up the tier list a significant amount, no longer considered a low or even mid tier, but a high tier, viable character.
ChuDat vs. CaptainJack (3rd)
However, this is where ChuDat’s run would end, as Jack would once again defeat him to send him out of the tournament. CaptainJack shockingly lost Game 1 using his Sheik, showing Chu’s prowess in the ICs-Sheik matchup that is a cornerstone of his career even today, but a quick switch to Ganon Game 2 easily undid all of ChuDat’s momentum. He even tried a switches to both Jigglypuff and Sheik himself, but to no avail as Jack triumphed 3-1.
Azen vs. CaptainJack (Grand Finals)
Grand Finals was upon us, but it seemed many expected it to go much the same. Jack would attempt to use his Sheik again, only to be chaingrabbed relentlessly by the East Coast champion and lose the tournament. However, Jack had one more trick up his sleeve, as he highlighted his cursor over a certain plumber with a PhD. That’s right, he decided to use Doctor Mario.
Dr. Mario was considered a lower tier character, similar in vein as to when somebody like aMSa burst onto the scene many years later with his Yoshi. While there were a few Doc mains, like the aforementioned Caveman, nobody thought a Doc could realistically take down one of the nation’s best. However, that’s exactly what transpired, as CaptainJack went up 3-1 on the now Best of 7 Grand Finals set with his Doc against Azen’s Sheik.
However, Azen wasn’t finished yet, as he quickly began using his iconic blue Marth against the doctor, defeating it and forcing the Sheik back out. Jack’s Sheik won the game, resetting the bracket 4-2 and making it a do or die scenario for Azen. Azen decided to switch to his Sheik for the next game and was able to defeat the Doc and, perhaps scared of the dreaded Sheik ditto, Jack opted to stay Doc for the remainder of the set. Azen had won the mental war, scaring Jack off an entire half of his arsenal, as he eventually won 3 straight games with Marth over the Doctor Mario to take the tournament, winning Grand Finals Set 2 4-1 in decisive, awe-inspiring fashion.
The results were in: America had won. Azen stood tall, one of the few times he had seemed genuinely happy about Smash in a long time, as he triumphed as the USA’s hero and proved the East was not the clear-cut best. Sure, they didn’t have everybody there, but one of their top 2 was in the end defeated decisively by America’s long-considered #2. Azen had won a tournament not just over Japan, but over Ken as well, and several players such as Chillin crowned Azen the new best in the world. While Azen himself disagreed, only with many others, he still relished in the moment, as for the brief time, he was on top of the world. One of the most important tournaments of all time had come to a close, and Azen was the one standing there with his trophy when the dust settled. The sheer chaos of it all caused Matt Deezie to close up shop on the Tournament Go series and move on to other endeavors, later joining Capcom and being a high profile worker there dealing in the Esports scene for games like Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom. Several other players, such as Recipherus, retired from the scene after this tournament, and other players like Samitude not long after. Ken, Azen, ChuDat, Isai and Jack became legends of the game and the clear Top 5 by the end of the year, with Ken late reclaiming his throne and solidifying himself as one of the best of all-time. The tournament was a pivotal point in Melee’s history, as a meeting of the old and the new, the West and East, a rise of many new scenes, and a worldwide battle that many were anxious to see. TG6 may have happened nearly 15 years ago today, but it’s legacy and importance will live on forever.
9.Ken, J-Dawg, BaleFireBoy, Sultan of Samitude
13.Variety Barrage, DA Dave, MikeMonkey, Takuto